NAVER Corporation and Xerox Corporation today announced an agreement for NAVER to acquire the Xerox Research Centre Europe in Grenoble, France. The French Works Council’s consultation on this project has now been completed and the agreement is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to fulfillment of certain customary conditions.
Once the sale becomes final, all 80 plus researchers and administrative staff are expected to become part of NAVER LABS.
Based in Seongnam, South Korea, NAVER is Korea’s leading Internet company, operating the nation’s top search portal “NAVER,” and other innovative services in the global market such as the mobile messenger LINE, video messenger SNOW and community app BAND. And NAVER LABS is an ambient intelligence company that develops future technologies including autonomous driving, robotics and artificial intelligence. Since its establishment as NAVER’s R&D division in 2013, it has led NAVER’s innovation in technology through products such as ‘Papago’, AI-based translation app, Whale, the omni-tasking web browser, and M1, the 3D indoor mapping robot.
Founded in 1993, the Xerox Research Centre Europe is located just outside Grenoble, often dubbed the Silicon Valley of Europe. The centre has focused its research in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing and ethnography.
“The research expertise at the European centre is perfectly aligned with NAVER LABS’. We expect immediate, powerful synergies” said Chang-hyeon Song, CEO of NAVER LABS, and CTO of NAVER. “XRCE's world class R&D achievements in AI technology, including computer vision and machine learning, will significantly strengthen NAVER LABS’ research in ‘ambient intelligence’ including autonomous vehicles, AI/deep learning, intelligent 3D mapping, robotics and natural language processing.”
With such a strong foothold in Europe, NAVER LABS expects to considerably accelerate its development of ambient intelligence technologies around the globe and in particular in AI.